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Univ. in Japan cancels own entrance tests amid emergency, bases admissions on unified exams

Entrance exam applicants are seen entering Utsunomiya University in the eastern Japan city of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, on Feb. 25, 2020, in this file photo. (Mainichi/Kanako Watanabe)

UTSUNOMIYA -- A university in Tochigi Prefecture announced on Jan. 21 that it will cancel its original entrance tests following the declaration of a state of emergency for the eastern Japan prefecture which will last until Feb. 7 amid the nationwide spread of the novel coronavirus.

    According to Utsunomiya University, it is the first time for the secondary portion of its general entrance examination to be canceled, since the university's establishment in May 1949.

    "Applicants across Japan come together in one place for the entrance test. When prioritizing the students' health, we had no choice but to reach the tough decision to cancel the entrance test," the head of the admission center's administrative office at Utsunomiya University commented.

    Tests conducted independently by the university were scheduled to be held on Feb. 25 and March 12. The university stated that moving forward it will select its entrants based on the scores of Jan. 16-17 standardized university exams for students who have applied to the schools of regional design, international studies, engineering, and agriculture. Applicants for the Cooperative Faculty of Education, which is co-managed by Gunma University -- the first attempt of its kind in the country -- will be asked to submit an essay. None of the applicants are required to go to the university to take the entrance exam, and the makeup test scheduled for March 22 will also be called off.

    In 2020, Utsunomiya University carried out the secondary portion of its entrance exam while taking coronavirus countermeasures, and after announcing in advance that it will not allow individuals who have contracted the novel coronavirus to take the test. The university also managed to hold its exam following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake by changing the date.

    (Japanese original by Kanako Watanabe and Naoto Takeda, Utsunomiya Bureau)

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